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‘Gladiator’ may return without Crowe

Djimon Hounsou claims his character would be center of sequel
/ Source: Reuters

Russell Crowe’s character may have been killed off at the end of the Oscar-winning movie ”Gladiator,” but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a sequel, Crowe’s co-star, Djimon Hounsou, said Monday.

Crowe won an Oscar for his role as a Roman general who is betrayed by a jealous prince and returns to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge. Benin-native Hounsou played an African slave who fights alongside him in the Colosseum.

Speaking in New York to promote his latest film “The Island,” Hounsou said “definitely the desire is to do a sequel” to “Gladiator.”

He acknowledged it would be hard for Crowe to return as Maximus given his dramatic death at the end of the first film, but he said producers were still working on the script and casting decisions.

“They’re not happy about what they have for now, so they’re still working on it. It’s still in development,” said Hounsou, adding that he expects to reprise his role as Juba. “I would probably be in the center of it as one of the leads,” he said.

Hounsou’s breakout role was in Steven Spielberg’s “Amistad” in 1997. He was nominated for an Oscar in 2004 for best supporting actor for his role in “In America.”

In “The Island” he plays a mercenary hunting fugitives from a secret institution that produces human clones.

Even if “Gladiator” producers were tempted to recall Crowe through a flashback or some other plot device, Hounsou admitted there could be other obstacles.

The original “Gladiator,” directed by Ridley Scott and released in 2000, took more than $187 million at the box office in the United States.

The New Zealand-born Crowe was arrested last month after an incident in which police say he hurled a telephone at the concierge of the Mercer Street Hotel in Manhattan.

If convicted of assault, he could face up to seven years in prison. Crowe has publicly apologized for the incident and his publicist has said the actor threw the phone against a wall rather than at the concierge.